Farmers must unite to win their rights – ACFF Convener | Daily News

Farmers must unite to win their rights – ACFF Convener

ACFF Convener Namal Karunaratne addressing the press briefing.
ACFF Convener Namal Karunaratne addressing the press briefing.

All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation (ACFF) Convener Namal Karunaratne said that they fully support the Indian farmers’ struggle against the Adani Company of India.”However, our farmers are undergoing many such problems now and they must unite to protect their rights,” he said.

He was speaking at a media briefing in Dambulla recently.

He said that farmers in our country are undergoing great difficulties and many of the paddy fields have been abandoned and some more were ruined in heavy rains.

“The farmers used non-standard seed paddy that the government sector issued to them. As a result, many paddy fields do not give expected yields,” he said.

“The farmers cultivated several varieties of paddy in the same paddy fields. Insects harmed most of these paddy fields. Spraying pesticide cannot control diseases in such paddy fields. Meanwhile, officials order the farmers to hand over 1,000 kilograms of paddy per hectare that they have cultivated to the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB), Karunaratna said.

“The farmers have been threatened that they would not be given subsidised fertiliser for the next season if they did not provide their paddy to the PMB. Officials have no right to say such things, he said. .

“The PMB has never bought the farmers’ entire paddy harvest. Last year, the country received 5,037,000 metric tonnes of paddy - the best harvest in 15 years. But the PMB has bought only 30,000 metric tonnes.The rest was taken by mill owners. Without them, the farmers would have been even more helpless,” Karunarathna said.

He said that the paddy stock, which was bought by the PMB will eventually go to big mill owners. “The consumer will never get rice at a reasonable price in this way,” he said.

Businessmen take their paddy stock to the PMB in the evening without any obstruction. When the farmers take theirs in the morning, those are rejected. Therefore, the farmers sell their paddy directly to the private sector at low rates. The Government has been saying it is providing relief to the farmers, but what the farmers received was inadequate,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the human-elephant conflict is intensifying. It is the helpless farmer who suffers in the conflict. No solution was given in this regard to date. Therefore, the time has come for the farmers to unite to protect their rights,” Karunaratne said.

All Island Farmers’ Federation Secretary T.D Sarath, Executive Committee Member Susanta Navaratne, Pradeshiya Sabha Members W.M Tilakaratne and Sunil Ranaweera were present.